Arnold, MD, United States | Member Since 2011
We all have our tastes-- I prefer strong character development and compelling action that carries me through a story to its surprising ending. This one, like all of Clarke's work, is merely a high-level simulation of what it might be like. Intriguing, definitely, but without characters that I care about, I just can't get into it. He's sort of like a Tom Clancy of sci fi. Still, I know I'll read even more of his stuff, but only when it's cheap.
I listened to this one at 3X speed so that I could try to lose myself in the words rather than listen to Vietor's monotone. This story is amazing and believable, with great characters and desperate peril and awesome science. If you can tolerate Vietor, then do definitely listen. Otherwise, buy the print version and get this book into your brain!
If you've never read a zombie novel before, then by all means read this book. You will be consuming the distilled contents of the basic concept of a zombie apocalypse. If, on the other hand, you're looking for something new and original, look elsewhere.
This is hands-down my favorite audio book ever. EVER. It is scary and funny (I had to pause it a few times just so I could finish laughing at a joke), and Stephen Thorne is the _perfect_ narrator for this, his performance was flawless. When you start reading, the story seems all over the place, and even when you finish it the first time it seems like someone just threw a dozen books at you at once, but the more you think about it the more everything makes sense. Then, when you go back and read/listen again, you realize that as insane as this book is, it's actually a whole and real story that obeys its own rules.
I've listened to this book more than any other audio book, and if I could rate it any higher I would.
Intelligent monotremes living deep underground. I just can't buy it scientifically. Add to that a soddenly predictable plot, and I quit reading halfway through. Decent narration, though.
This book is an amazing work of fiction- the characters are utterly real, and the premise is engrossing. I'm a picky reader, and this book met every criteria I have for a book that I would recommend to everyone. The actual writing of it sucks you in and makes you want more and more. I found myself coming up with excuses to continue reading.
I'm picky about books, and I was very hesitant to read Lexicon when I saw that Max Barry had also written Jennifer Government (which I had read as an abridged audiobook years ago and found disjointed and preachy), but it was recommended to me by an extremely intelligent friend of mine whose opinion I trust, and so I thought I'd give it a try. It was totally worth it. This book has everything I want in a great work of fiction- amazing world-building, awesome characters that I get to know and love, compelling action and a premise that makes you lay awake at night. The narration was brilliant and let me experience the book fully, and I feel as though I was there experiencing it all. Now I will have to go back and read the unabridged Jennifer Government, because Barry is a genius and the only explanation for my previous impression must be that something was lost in the abridgement.
The action flowed and pulled me through, I found myself looking for chores to do as an excuse to listen more. The character development was amazing and you really got the sensation of the cramped quarters of a modern space station. The science was fun and didn't ruin the suspended disbelief.
My one negative comment is that the end seemed a little lackluster, otherwise this story would have gotten 5 stars all the way.
I read another review that said the narrator made the story impossible to listen to, but I didn't believe it. I bought the book anyway because I love Niven and Pournelle-- but that reviewer was right!
I know it sounds ridiculous, but the narrator's voice sounds like a drill seargent reading a shopping list and after about 10 minutes of listening to his droning I simply couldn't follow what was going on-- from changes of location to which character was talking. Apparently a few other people had problems with it that weren't as bad as mine, but I feel like I've wasted my money on a book that I can never listen to.
Zombie novels are a magnet for mediocre writers. There, I said it. If you don't agree, then this review probably doesn't have a lot to offer you. Still, I love the genre's potential, and this book comes the closest I've seen in a long while to realizing that potential. Rise Again spends a good while really developing Danny's character to the point that, despite the fact that she's a walking stereotype (although dark, drunk veterans with PTSD aren't usually played by women-- her only stand-out quality), I feel that I really understand and relate to her, so Tripp managed to not use her stereotype as a crutch. Good character development is insanely rare in this genre, so it was really refreshing and a very strong start to the book.
That being said, pretty much every other face you see in the book is as flat as a cutout from a magazine. Danny keeps it real and keeps you caring, but it seems like Tripp was lazy in designing his other characters so the rest have no depth. A few are sympathetic, but they're all just slightly more developed than cardboard cutouts (case in point: gay interior designer, empathetic and soft-hearted female veterinarian, a-hole lawyer).
The description, however, is magnificent throughout. Excellent prose, believable action and the avoidance of too many predictable plot developments (at least predictable by me) kept me interested to the point where I looked for housework to do just as an excuse to listen. There's a lot of gore, but it's not just a splatterhouse. Also, as a horror, it only really had one scary point for me, at the very beginning. The rest was sort of hum-drum zombie head-smashing.
So there's bad and there's good in it, but it's worth reading. I should make mention that another very refreshing thing about this book is that it's not just another thought experiment about how awesome and scary the idea of the zombie apocalypse is. The story is as it should be-- the zombies are the environment, not the main character.
The plot wasn't really that moving for me, however; Danny's character arc is decent but not earth-shattering, some people get saved from being eaten, world's still destroyed but they can start over. It's all a little canned. Rise Again does attempt to make a few statements about the nature of occupation forces like those we have in the middle east, but they're too heavy handed and that's not really what the book is about. The book is about Danny, someone who's gotten herself into a downward spiral that would probably end in death (we see the ghost of her future in Wolf, also a bit heavy handed), and the catastrophe gives her an opportunity to find the spark of purpose that might bring her some fulfillment and save her. In a word, the book is about redemption, but it's not strong enough to make you want to cry.
All in all, it was a great read. It wasn't The Road or World War Z (I know the two are in completely different leagues from one another, but I loved them both), but it was better than the rest that I've read. And I've read a LOT.
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